Battlefield 3 - Review



For shooter fans there is just one big question this year: who is going to win the fight for the "King of Shooters" 2011? "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" or "Battlefield 3"?
Well, as of now, we aren't able to answer this question just yet. But at least we can now enjoy and rate the full experience that "Battlefield 3" offers.
When the first gameplay footage was revealed, the graphics, delivered by the new Frostbite 2 engine, looked almost to good to be true. Supposedly, primarily developed to compete with "Call of Duty", "Battlefield 3"'s  chances look very good.
But are better graphics enough to make "Battlefield 3" stand out that much among other military shooters nowadays, or does this new contender for the "King of Military Shooters" have more up its sleeve?




Story

Set in 2014, Sgt. Blackburn leads a five-man squad on a mission to locate, find and safely return a US squad investigating a possible chemical weapons site, whose last known position was a market controlled by a hostile militia called the PLR. Blackburn and his squad are later sent to Tehran to apprehend a high-value target named Al-Bashir. While investigating an underground vault in a local bank, Blackburn and his team learn that the PLR had access to Russian portable nuclear devices, and that two of the devices are missing...

As you can already imagine, the campaign's plot is nothing to write home about. It's the typical clicheed military warfare story topped up with nukes, terrorists, russians, public shootouts etc..
The story is mainly told via flashbacks of Sgt. Blackburn who finds himself in an interrogation.
(SOUND FAMILIAR YET?!?!?.....blackops*COUGH*)
Anyway, the campaign is easily the weakest part of the entire game. It's definitely the best campaign the "Battlefield" series has ever had but honestly, that's not saying a lot. "Forgettable" is the word that truely defines the campaign.
Characters are as flat as it gets, so that a dead teammate in the game won't interest you a single bit and probably will leave you scratching your head asking yourself "Whoooooo the fuck was that dude again?". While the missions put you into several nice battlefields in different countries, the mission objectives are very repetitive. This wouldn't be too bad if there hadn't been one big mistake that the campaign makes (ATTENTION!: i don't want to sound like a COD-fanboy but..):
The campaign is a 90% Call-of-Duty-campaign-Rip-Off!
In every mission and intense moment that there is, players of the "Call of Duty" games can name the exact ripped-off moment. Whether it is a capturing mission (Favela in MW2), battling in Tehran (COD4), attacking a mansion (Makerov's hideout in MW2), putting you into different personas (every COD), or Blackburn's interrogation itself (COD: Black Ops), you will get SERIOUS "Call of Duty"-flashbacks whatever you do.
So to be fair, i have to say that the missions and the story are far away from original.
Because of that, you will see the plot twists and turns coming a mile away in the campaign.
Aside from familiar mission structures, the game offers not much. Most of the time it's the "go-to that room kill all dudes, go to the other room and kill all dudes..." routine without any engaging cinematic moments.
Admittedly, that's how most shooters work, but "Battlefield 3" doesn't offer that much eye candy and memorable moments that make our campaign-trip fun and entertaining. Instead, the campaign feels slapped on and unenthusiastic. "Battlefield 3" is one of those rare cases, where the singleplayer plays the second fiddle to the Multiplayer.
DICE just failed at trying to give us a campaign that feels both, cinematic and realistic. Whereas the realistic aspects shine through way more than the cinematic aspects. Nevertheless, after all it's just a "boring" and "lifeless" campaign.
In the end, you will most probably be left disappointed by it, at least considering the story.



Gameplay

"Battlefield 3" plays like your regular military shooter, with grenades, hip-fire, ironside, bla bla you know the drill.
Some interesting aspects as i think, were for example, that the controls felt much more delayed, giving you the feel of holding a heavy gun in your hands. Much like the controls from "Killzone 2". Though they can be changed by putting up the sensitivity, they felt "different". The controls in "Battlefield 3" took me quite some time to get fully used to, but they fit the style of the game and make the playstyle more unique.
Considering the campaign experience, there are many things that drag the game down, which i will try to enlist here:

- The A.I. sucks:
Your AI comrades are total fucking idiots. There have been so many times in which i have seen my buddys cover against a desk, blindfiring at an enemy WHO HAPPENS TO BE IN COVER JUST AT THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DESK! Everytime you can't get to the next checkpoint due to your dumbass AI partners not hitting a specific enemy, you will ALWAYS have to kill the last guy...or you will wait forever. Embarassing!

- Barely any destructable buildings:
Completely different compared to the destructable maps in the multiplayer, the campaign features almost no destructable buildings. You would think that DICE would incorporate this essential, unique gameplay aspect into the singleplayer, which worked so well in "Bad Company 2", BUT NO!, almost everything destructable in the campaign are some minor things like cars, windows, small cover walls and pillars. Tearing down walls to make a quick exit? Forget it! This is one of the bigger negative aspects that takes the dynamic and fun out of the singleplayer and makes it a linear boring treat.

- Not being able to fly jets:
Yes! You can't fly jets in the campaign. Well, you will be flying in a jet but you won't be able to control it. You will have the task to aim-lock at enemy jets and ground targets, making the JET mission a TURRET mission. Biggest...tease....ever! Also this is probably the most boring mission in the campaign. Why include a jet mission if you can't fly the jet?!?!

- Cheap deaths:
One of the few things that i actually liked about the campaign is that at times it was really challenging (on "normal"). I was only a few missions in, when i realized that this difficulty came from cheap deaths. Accidently killing yourself, not knowing what to do now, missing a quicktime event, or running out of cover spaces, happens more often than you think. But that's more a thing of learning and progressing....i guess.

- Lame quicktime events
They are scattered all over the campaign whenever you are set into a close combat fist fight with another enemy. Quicktime events have to be used very wisely. Sadly, nowadays it is used way too often and in some of the most redundant circumstances. Here, the game clearly wants to bring up tension and integration into the action by tapping the X-button at the right time. But quickly you will notice that that's the only button you had to push for the entire sequence. That's when you realize that the game really is thinking: "AWW! THAT WAS COOL HUH?! Tell me it was cool ;D Come on, it was cool lookin' right? Aww come on tell...".

- Short campaign
The campaign will take you about 5 to 6 hours which makes it a brief experience. This might not be that big an affair, because when you are done with the it, you most probably wouldn't want it to be longer anyway.

So that's basically everything negative spoken about the CAMPAIGN gameplay (not multiplayer).
The campaign's only good point is that it will prepare you for multiplayer by showing you all the basics.


Multiplayer

This is why everyone bought this game: Multplayer.
Much like the "Unreal Tournament"-series, the "Battlefield"-series has earned its great reputation due to its big and free multiplayer experience. Making "Battlefield 3" primarily a multiplayer game! *duh*

"Choice" is the key word here. Being able to ride several vehicles on a huge map and choosing between various tactics of how to approach the enemy, delivers a great job in giving you a big online-war. Although it can get very chaotic at times.

However, "Battlefield 3" plays quite differently compared to its "Call of Duty" counterpart.
Here, you are given the choice of playing as one of four different soldier-classes: Assault, Support, Engineer and Recon. In a well teamed and organized battle, each unique skill of a player class can be of great use, never making you feel unimportant in any way.
Yet, unlike in games like COD, there is still no customization of classes possible. While you are able to upgrade weapons through frequent use, your newly-earned attachment is instantly put onto your gun.
It might be a hate it or love it kind of thing, but in my opinion it takes out the personality out of the multiplayer experience. But this is just a minor nippick compared to DICE's ridiculously stupid decision to not only have guns upgrade but also vehicles, forcing you to frequently use a specific vehicle to unlock all of its weapons and abilities. Probably this was integrated to balance the game more, but those are just the kind of problems you run into when developing a big online battlefield with vehicles.
One of the few concerns i had with the multiplayer was the lack of different game modes. There should be much more game modes for such a huge online community.

Despite the very linear upgrading system, it is at least just as addictive as you would expect it to be. Especially considering the incredibly huge variety of weapons that you are given.
Multiplayerwise, "Battlefield 3" is right up there with "Call of Duty", making the pick between those two, more of a decision in terms of taste rather than quality.
Both games mainly cover the same basis, but have a different character through their gameplay nuances. 
Of course the well received ranking system is also present here.

Additionally, the game features a Co-op mode with different missions that can be played via split-screen or online. Those missions reach from ground battles to vehicle battles in for example choppers, in which player 1 flies while player 2 shoots. The missions are very fun but also extremely challenging.



Graphics

(This review is completely based on the PS3-version of the game.)
Undoubtedly, "Battlefield 3" is one of the finer graphical releases this year (this generation).
Especially at night and in close quarters the game looks amazing. Lighting and water effects in particular look very realistic, most notably when they are combined. Other exceptionally great looking aspects are for example the great horizon textures and the sharp looking incredible clouds and skies in the game (especially when flying through them).
Unfortunately, missions in broad daylight hamper the graphical astonishment quite a bit. At daylight, textures and models look far not as impressive as at night, most probably due to the missing impressive colorful-contrasts when dark.
On consoles, the game's graphics sure do look very good but are far not as revolutionary as predicted. While it is running on the Frostbite 2 engine, it doesn't really look like that big a step above "Bad Company 2". Also, you will encounter small bugs/glitches here and there.
Due to the fact that almost every game looks far better on PC than on consoles, when put on maximum, i am convinced that "Battlefield 3"'s true and complete graphical potential can only be experienced on PC.
Therefore, it is a great looking game, but whose revolutionary graphical aspect can sadly only be seen on PC.


Sound

The soundtrack is pretty basic but does a good job keeping the tone and style of the distorted theme music at every moment (even the emotional ones), without sounding out of place.
Anyway, the sound design of the guns, explosions, etc. is the best in military shooter games yet. Everything from the guns to the death-screams sounds realistic and cinematic at the same time and makes good use of one's surround sound system. DICE is a big star when it comes to sound design.


The Verdict

"Battlefield 3" is primarily a multiplayer game. The slapped on, lifeless, clicheed and uninteresting singleplayer campaign ultimately feels just as necessary as a singleplayer campaign for an "Unreal Tournament" game. It's nothing horrible, but just as many reviewers already said "The campaign feels like a different game.". With that said, you should by no means base your entire opinion about this game only on the campaign, which is by far the weakest aspect of the game.
While not offering much in terms of customization, "Battlefield 3"'s multiplayer is extremely addictive and up their with some of the game's biggest competetors in the business. Vehicles, loads of guns, big maps, the tools for huge online-wars are all there. It's just as close as online-wars on giant battlefields get and THIS is the real experience this game should be judged on.
In my opinion, the game's multiplayer could only be topped up with more customization options and game modes, but other than that, there can't be said anything bad about it that wouldn't be influenced by personal preference.
"Battlefield 3"'s multiplayer will give his fans everything they wanted and surely has the potential to make non-believers think differently.

Still, i have to base my ranking on the entire game, meaning the singleplayer and the multiplayer.


Final Verdict: 8 out of 10

Status: Great for Fans

 

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